Every boat operator must know the rules that apply in the sharing of waterways, in order to safely navigate. When navigating at night or by restricted visibility, the operator must be able to recognize a boat by the color and positioning of its navigation lights to determine what actions to take to avoid a collision.
Navigation lights for a powerboat operating at night (less than 12 meters (39,4") in lenght)
According to the Collision regulations, an operator of a power driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length, and underway, may display, from sunset to sunrise:
sternlight (white). If less than 20 meters in length, the three lights may be combined at or near the top of the mast.
A sailing vessel may exhibit at or near the top of the mast, two all-round lights in a vertical line: the upper one red and the lower one green. These lights are shown along with the sidelights and sternlight.
A vessel engaged in fishing, other than trawling, shall display:
all-around lights in a vertical line, the upper being red over white light. When making way through the water.
Vessel when engaged in trawling
A vessel when engaged in trawling, which means dragging a dredge net or other fishing apparatus through the water, shall display:
two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being green and the lower white. When making way through the water,
Tug boat lights (tow length under 200m)
Tug boat lights (tow length over 200m)
At anchor, the operator of a pleasure craft shall display, from sunset to sunrise, in the fore part, an all-around white light. A powerboat anchored at night must display an all-around white light.
Rowboats (kayakers and canoers) at night
Navigation lights are also required for human-powered vessels (canoe, kayak) or for a sailing pleasure craft of less than 7 metres in length not under power. When underway, the operator shall, from sunset to sunrise, display, if practical, sidelights and a sternlight, but if the operator cannot, he/she must have at hand, a flashlight or lighted lantern emitting a white light which must be lit in enough time to prevent a collision.